The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase is an excellent mid-range travel credit card. It is especially rewarding for regular users of IHG hotels, with great earning rates and hotel benefits. This article will look at the card details and benefits it offers, both with IHG hotels and elsewhere.
Card details and application fee
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a fee-based credit card. The annual fee is $89, placing it firmly as a mid-range credit card. For comparison, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a similar fee. There is no discount or fee waiver for the first year.
Ongoing variable APR is between 17.99 percent and 24.99 percent. There are no reductions or zero percent APR initial offers with this card.
Earn points with IHG Rewards Club
Although the card is provided by Chase, it does not participate in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Alternatively, it awards points directly in the IHG Rewards Club program.
This is a major consideration when applying for this card. Points in the IHG Rewards Club program offer the best value when spending on IHG hotels, but are not as easily transferable to other programs as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card rewards spending at the following rates:
- 25 IHG Rewards Club points per dollar on all spend with IHG hotels for the first 12 months, and 10 points per dollar after that
- 4 points per dollar for all purchases during the first 12 months. After that 2 points per dollar for all dining spend, and payments at gas stations and grocery stores and 1 point per dollar for all other spending
Excellent sign up bonus
There is a great sign up bonus for new members with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. You will earn 125,000 IHG Rewards Club points for initial spending of $3,000 within the first three months. Make sure you are eligible before you sign up, taking into account your existing cards and history.
Be careful when comparing this bonus with other cards. It may seem higher than some other Chase cards, but in general IHG Rewards Club points are not as valuable as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
When used for IHG hotels, 125,000 points will more than pay for one night at any of the chains top properties. You could stretch your points further and get six nights at a lower cost, 20,000 points a night property in many cities!
And 10,000 more points for high spending
For higher spenders with the card, there are even more points on offer. If you spend $20,000 on purchases within each account anniversary year, you will receive a 10,000 point bonus.
This is a high target – especially given the relatively low earning with the card on general purchases. Nevertheless, it’s a good offer to have.
No foreign exchange transaction fees
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card does not apply transaction fees to any purchases made overseas, or purchases made online in a foreign currency. This is, in our opinion, an essential benefit for any travel card.
One Global Entry membership included
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card includes one membership with the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck programs. This is offered as a rebate of up $100, once every four years, when the application fee is paid using the card.
This is another great benefit for the frequent traveler, easing security and immigration at US airports significantly. The application can be for anyone, useful if the cardholder already has a membership.
Great benefits when you stay with IHG
Some of the top benefits of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card are with IHG hotels. If used in full, these benefits are easily worth the annual fee of $89, and possibly much more.
Free night certificate each year
Each year that you hold the card you will receive a certificate for a free one night stay. This is valid for a standard reward stay at any IHG property globally, up to the value of 40,000 points. This will exclude many of the top end and luxury IHG property (costing up to 70,000 points a night) but includes great options in most cities.
For example, in London, this would cover a stay at the central Holiday Inn Oxford Circus, the Hotel Indigo London Kensington or the Crowne Plaza at Kings Cross, among others. Cash rates at these properties are usually around $250 per night, but can often be higher during peak periods.
Platinum status with IHG Rewards Club
As long as you hold the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you receive a free upgrade to Platinum status within the IHG Rewards Club. This is mid-level membership, usually requiring 40 nights at IHG hotels in a year and comes with a good range of benefits, including:
- A 50% bonus on all IHG Rewards Club points earned from hotel stays
- Room upgrade at check-in
- Late check out
- Complimentary internet
- Bonus points or welcome drink for each stay
- Guaranteed room availability (up to 72 hours before stay)
Benefit from discounts on longer stays
Cardholders get a discount on the points rate when booking longer reward stays. If you book a consecutive four-night points stay at any IHG property you will receive one of the nights free. For example, a four-night stay at a property costing 30,000 points per night would require only 90,000 points.
This is a great offer, giving significant savings with no limit to how much you can use it. There is no other way to get this benefit – it is not offered even to top-level Spire Elite members, only with an IHG credit card.
Huge earnings with IHG hotels
As already explained the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an excellent earning rate of 10 points per dollar at all IHG hotels. But this is not all you will earn with hotel stays.
When you combine this credit card bonus with the standard points earning rate of 10 points per dollar and the 50% bonus on top of this with the free Platinum elite status, you are looking at total earnings of 40 points per dollar spent with IHG – an excellent earning rate!
Other benefits – travel and purchase protection
There are plenty more benefits with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, including travel insurance and purchase protection in several areas. Similar benefits are offered with many fee-based credit cards.
- Free Collision Damage Waiver when you rent cars, either in the US or overseas.
- Trip cancellation insurance. Offers up to $5,000 cover for pre-paid expenses if a trip is canceled or cut short (for several reasons including sickness and weather).
- Baggage delay cover. Offers reimbursement of up to $100 per day for three days, when bags are delayed over six hours.
- Lost luggage cover. If bags are lost or damaged by your carrier, there is cover of up to $3,000 per passenger.
Spending IHG Rewards Club points
Finally, we consider how you can use the IHG Rewards Club points that you earn with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. By far the best value is to use the points for stays at IHG hotels. It is also possible to use points for shopping through the IHG Rewards Club shopping portal and to transfer to many airline loyalty programs. The value you get with these options, however, can be much lower. We discuss these in more detail here.
Hotel points rates are fixed, starting at 10,000 points per night. The value you get, of course, varies depending on the available cash prices. We always suggest checking this to make sure you are getting the best value from your points.
Booking IHG hotels with points is easy online. You can search for rates for different cities, and any discount from the fourth-night free offer with the card should show up.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a great card for anyone who stays regularly at IHG hotels. The benefits offered here easily justify the annual fee and can be worth much more. Free Platinum status and discounts on longer IHG points stays can be very valuable if used frequently. Just the annual free night can easily be worth more than $89 on its own!
The travel benefits of no foreign exchange fees, free car rental insurance and Global Entry membership are worthwhile for anyone regularly traveling. If you can’t maximize the IHG benefits on top, there are other good cards that also include these.
Earning rates are good for a mid-level card, and excellent for the first 12 months. The general earning of one point per dollar after the first 12 months is lower though than with many other cards. In situations like this, there is no reason why you cannot combine using the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card with another card that rewards better.